Four steps to land your dream job
Landing your dream job is no easy task
Landing your dream job in 2021 is no easy task. A lot of job seekers are using outdated information, and it’s costing them dearly. Gone are the days when a killer resume is all it takes to get the job offer (though it does help).
Now, jobs seekers need a great resume coupled with an excellent job search plan, a thoughtfully-created LinkedIn profile, robust networking, interviewing done just right, plus superb follow-up skills and an amazing attitude to land the job.
Below are tips to help in all those areas.
Step 1: Tips for outstanding executive resumes
Focus on relevant achievements and downplay seniority
If you want the hiring manager to be focused on your accomplishments and not your age, then lead with your measurable wins and don’t lead with seniority. Focus on what is needed in the job and showcase your relevant victories.
Don’t include all your experience and everything about you
So many job applicants still add too much information to their resumes and it has the opposite effect of what they want – lost interest.
Keep your audience interested in five to 10-second increments to keep them scrolling and reading. If that is one page, so be it. If that is two pages, which is the case for most people with over 10 years of experience, it is okay. As a general rule, go back only 15 to 20 years. Even if what you did 25 years ago is applicable to what you are targeting today, no company will hire you for what you did 25 years ago.
Plus, putting over 20 years of experience on your resume only dates you and does not really help your candidacy.
Quit with the keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing does more harm than good. While this may work when the recruiter reads your keyword-stuffed resume, they will think you are spending more time trying to game the system than outlining why you are qualified. So, while you don’t want to stuff your resume with keywords, it is important to optimize it with a few relevant keywords.
Step 2: Tips for a killer LinkedIn profile
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile involves properly populating each section and performing the right activities regularly for maximum exposure. The reality is that doing even some of these steps will put you ahead of most of your competitors.
Make the most of your tagline
Optimizing your tagline with keywords and phrases is very important to your LinkedIn profile. In your tagline use the keywords, descriptors and deliverables for which you want to be found by hiring managers and recruiters.
Create an achievement-driven summary section
The summary section provides you a 2,000-character space to showcase your achievements and key accomplishments. It should be filled with examples of how you have achieved various things. Here is where you can start to build your brand.
Your personal brand is not only what you want to project of yourself, but what your employers, coworkers, vendors and clients have come to know you for during your career. Remove the fluff and clichés from your summary and instead make it jam-packed with action-driven information and language, letting your personality shine through for that prospective employer.
Showcase your work
There are several sections in your profile that allow you to showcase your work and professional credentials as well as to demonstrate your personality. All these sections add dimension to your overall brand. For example, use the project section to spotlight work that is pertinent to your profession. Include relevant information in each of these sections such as publications, projects, courses, volunteer experiences and more. Upload applicable media, presentations and videos.
Choose the right skills
The skills section allows you to create an instant association to different skill sets that you want to be known for. Be careful in choosing the right skills — you can choose up to 50 — for the job you are seeking and your personal brand.
The options seem limitless — but here is the place to remember your specialization and focus only on the skills that make the most sense for your overall profile and the types of roles you are seeking. You can reference the job descriptions you are applying to for guides on keywords and phrases to include.
Activity and engagement are important
There is huge value being placed on engagement. Activity level is prominently showcased on your LinkedIn profile and is weighted by LinkedIn. Participating in groups, posting status updates, commenting on posts and liking content shared by connections and group members are many ways to engage with users and share information with your connections.
Now, when someone looks at your profile, they can see how active (or not so active) you have been on LinkedIn and how often you have posted/shared relevant information.
Join up to 100 LinkedIn groups
When you join up to 100 groups, you are now in the connection webs of the group members of these 100 groups — and not just the connection webs of your third-degree connections. This enables your profile to show up in exponentially more search results when someone is looking for someone like you.
Step 3: Tips for acing that interview
The cardinal rule of interviewing seems to be “never say anything negative during an interview.” But that does not mean the hiring manager will not ask you about the blemish, challenge or failure in your past that you would prefer not to talk about, if given the choice.
Embrace your story
Employed or unemployed, many job seekers are telling stories about how they lost a job, missed a plan, did not grow market share, lost key accounts, transferred to a job they did not want and/or harbored increased vendor costs. So, you are not alone. What separates you from the pack is not the content of your story — but how you tell it. It is my belief that the candidate that tells his/her story confidently with some vulnerability and humor wins the hiring game.
Expect tough questions and have your answers ready
Don’t stick your head in the sand and hope “they just won’t ask.” Prepare accordingly. Don’t memorize answers but think about your answers prior to the interview. Word choice and repeated practice will improve your confidence dramatically with the interviewer when he/she asks this question.
Take inventory of all you learned from your challenges and hardships
People love stories of positive people who triumphed over tough situations. The key here is not to complain about your situation or ruminate about how incredulous the predicament was, but to share what you learned about yourself and about the business and how you are going to apply it going forward to breed success.
When describing a negative or challenging situation, you always want to outline what you learned from it. That is what hiring managers want to hear from their prospective employees.
Step 4: Tips for networking that work
Don’t ask about job openings at their company
Instead, ask questions to gain information about the person you are talking to and learn about their company, interests and passions.
Have a concise way to describe where you are and what you want
Come up with an eloquent way to describe where you are in your career and what you see as the next phase of your career. Be prepared to explain that you are looking for a new position and the kind of job you seek, when it is appropriate to share.
Networking is not only about attending events
A lot of networking can now be done over the phone. Each day call one friend and one former co-worker to whom you have not spoken to in a while and see how they are doing. Then let the conversation gravitate to what you are up to, naturally.